Top 6 Best Types of Gutter Guards

By Laura Hodges

There are six types of gutter guards on the market: micro-mesh, mesh, screen, reverse curve/surface tension, brush, and foam. The gutter guard you select for your home should depend on your visibility, installation, and cost preferences, and the amount of rainfall and debris your gutters experience. Each type of gutter guard comes in various colors, materials, and sizes. 

Gutter guards will keep you from frequently cleaning your gutters, and protect your home from water damage. Finding the best gutter guard for your home is essential to proper water drainage and avoiding costly damages. Keep reading to learn about the types of gutter guards and how they can impact your responsibilities as a homeowner. 

6 Best Types of Gutter Guards

There are six main types of gutter guards. Each of these gutter guards has some unique benefits and features. In addition, the gutter guard pricing will change depending on the type of gutter guard you are purchasing. The six main types of gutter guards are . . . 

  • Micro-Mesh
  • Mesh
  • Screen
  • Reverse Curve/Surface Tension
  • Brush 
  • Foam 

Let’s take a deeper look into each of these gutter types to decide which one is best for your home. 

Micro-Mesh Gutter Guards

Micro-mesh gutter guards are very similar to mesh gutter guards. The only significant difference is that the holes in the mesh are even smaller. This ensures that almost no debris can get through the guard. Some of the holes in the micro mesh are so small that you can barely see them. 

The micro-mesh gutter guards are often the best gutter guard type. Since these guards block the most debris and cause minor damage for a homeowner, it is easy to justify your gutter guard purchase. 

Micro-mesh gutter guards need to be professionally installed, and you will have to be careful when you look at the overall quality of the option you choose; however, for the most part, micro-mesh gutter guards will not disappoint. 

Pros

  • One of the most effective types of gutter guards
  • Easy debris removal and cleaning
  • Allows for the best water flow away from the foundation 

Cons

  • Higher pricing of installation 

Best Micro-Mesh Gutter Guards: LeafFilter

LeafFilter Gutter Protection has a patented 3-piece gutter guard system that blocks debris from clogging your gutters. The micromesh screen is made from surgical-grade stainless steel with a uPVC frame, ensuring it will never warp, rust, or corrode. It’s held up with structural hangers fastened to your roof’s fascia board, making the gutter guard more durable and reliable than other brands. Additionally, it is 275-microns fine, meaning even small particles like shingle grit will not penetrate the guard.

For a free LeafFilter quote, enter your zipcode here.

Best Overall

  • Full installation of patented 3-piece LeafFilter system
  • Stainless steel 275-micron micromesh screen
  • Lifetime transferable warranty
  • Free estimate with in-person inspection

our rating9.7

Mesh Gutter Guards

A mesh gutter guard is very much like a screen gutter guard in that it has holes that debris can be blocked, but water can still flow through the gutter system. The great thing about mesh gutter guards is that they are durable, and they do a tremendous job of keeping you off the roof. 

Mesh gutter guards will block out most debris and should rarely need to be removed for cleaning. In addition, the way the debris collects on top typically allows it to flow over and off the side of the roof. Most homeowners would agree that a quick raking around the house’s perimeter is better than a monthly gutter cleaning. 

The only issue with mesh gutter guards is that they are one of the most expensive leaf guard options. However, the price is likely worth it when you consider the functionality.

Pros

  • One of the best types of gutter guards
  • Will block out large debris
  • It helps improve water flow
  • It keeps homeowners off their roofs

Cons

  • It should be professionally installed
  • Can be higher in price 

Screen Gutter Guards

Like how you have a screen on your windows to stop larger debris (or animals) from coming into the home, the screen gutter guards serve the same purpose. Screen gutters guards have large holes that allow water to flow through but keep the debris out. Both micro-mesh and mesh gutter guards are a type of screen leaf guard.

A screen gutter guard can be installed professionally or on your own. Overall, the affordability of screen gutter guards is quite good. The screens fit right on top of your old gutters, so there is no retrofitting that needs to be done. 

The only issue with screen gutter guards is that they need to be cleaned out at least yearly. A complete gutter cleaning job with screen leaf guard removal is necessary at least once per year to ensure that the screen gutter guards continue to work for years. 

Pro

  • Fairly priced gutter guards
  • It can be installed without the help of a professional 
  • Block large debris from ending up in the gutter

Cons

  • Holes in the screen are large enough for some debris to pass-through 
  • It will need to be removed and cleaned once per year

Foam Gutter Guards

Foam is a very unique and popular material for home projects and solutions. The great thing about foam is that it is cheaper than many other materials and very lightweight. The foam gutter guard is essentially a piece of foam that fits into the gutter. 

The foam gutter guards are very inexpensive, and they stop large debris from collecting inside the tracks of the gutter system. If you see water flowing down your roof but not making it into the downspouts, chances are you get a lot of debris in the gutter. 

The great thing about foam gutter guards is that they are cheap; the bad news is that they still make gutter clean up a little messy. In order to clean your gutters, foam gutter guards need to be removed and then replaced. In addition, large debris will collect on top of the foam. If this large debris is left there, it can cause damage to the foam itself.

Pros

  • Very low pricing
  • It can be installed without the help of a professional 
  • Easy to get to fit in a variety of gutter styles

Cons

  • Debris will collect on top of the foam
  • Removing and cleaning will be a significant project 

Brush Gutter Guards

A brush gutter guard is going to look exactly like it sounds. Brush gutter guards look like large bristle brushes that sit inside the gutter. The brush gutter guards stand up inside the gutter and allow water to pass through; however, the other debris must remain outside the gutter. 

The overall concept of brush gutter guards blocking large debris like most leaves and even pinecones is excellent. However, there are issues with this type of gutter guard installation, and it is a primary reason people will avoid brush leaf guards. 

Particular debris gets stuck inside the brush gutter guard, and it is a hassle to get out. When trying to remove debris, you must take out the entire gutter guard system and have them cleaned. If you have a roof that collects a lot of pine needles and other smaller tree debris, expect to be in for a lot of work with the brush gutter guards. 

Pros

  • Blocks large debris from the gutter system 
  • Easy to install on your own 
  • Easy to remove for cleaning

Cons

  • Increased maintenance
  • Constant issues with debris blockage 
  • It can get easily clogged 

Reverse Curve/Surface Tension Gutter Guards

The reverse curve/surface tension gutter guard will allow water to flow around the guard and into the gutter. At the same time, the gutter guard is allowing water to pass through; it is also blocking debris from making its way down into the gutters. The reverse curve gutter guards let debris slide right down along them. 

Reverse curve gutter guards are seen from the ground, so you will notice these leaf guards as you make your way around the house. A reverse curve gutter guard must be professionally installed most of the time. They are a bit more complicated to put in but typically come with a warranty. 

The problem you will run into with the reverse curve gutter guards is that they need to lift roof shingles to be installed. This can cause some damage. In addition, you can see the gutter guards from the ground, which may change your home’s aesthetics. 

Pros

  • Typically come with a warranty 
  • Do an excellent job of allowing water to flow properly 
  • Can handle blocking of the large debris

Cons

  • Can cause damage to the roof if the installation is not done properly
  • Visible from the ground 
  • Clogs can still be a problem even with the high pricing of reverse curve gutter guards 

What Is A Gutter Guard?

A gutter guard is essentially a cap or a liner that blocks debris from entering your gutters system. If you have spent some time cleaning your gutters, you know that wet leaves, sticks, twigs, tree nuts, and more will get stuck in the gutter and block their functionality. 

Several issues can come up when a gutter is complete, and water cannot flow properly through the gutter system. First of all, water will flow over the gutter’s top and down to the house’s foundation. If this improper water flow continues, it can cause structural damage to your home. 

Secondly, the more a gutter gets clogged, the more often you have to head up to your roof to clean them out. Gutter cleaning is dangerous, and hiring a professional to clean them for you is expensive. Gutter guards help eliminate the gutter cleaning hassle and make homeownership much easier. 

Many homeowners are unaware of the different types of Leaf guards. There are many options out there that could make a big difference to the functionality of your home. 

Gutter Type Price Range Installation Durability
Micro-Mesh Mid to High  Professional Durable
Mesh Mid to High  Varies (yet mostly professional) Durable 
Screen Low To Mid Varies Most Durable
Surface Tension Highest Professional Above Average Durability
Brush Lower Easy / DIY Durable
Foam Lower Easy / DIY Not Durable

Considerations For Choosing The Right Type Of Gutter Guard

When choosing gutter guards for your home, you must be aware of the differences between one gutter guard type and another. In addition, many gutter guards will have varying levels of quality depending on the company or individual they are purchased from. Here are a few things to consider to ensure you choose the right type of gutter guard for your home. 

Pricing

The higher the pricing, the better the gutter guard is. Although we don’t always like to associate quality with the price for gutter guards, this typically tends to be the case. When gutter guards get more effective, they go up in price. 

The price increase in gutter guards such as mesh and micro-mesh is directly related to the amount of work you will need to do to keep the gutters clean and functioning. The lowest maintenance solutions are higher in price. 

Set your budget before looking for gutter guards and find which options will fit within your budget. 

Visibility

Many gutter guards will be visible from the ground; others will be completely hidden. If you are worried about changing the look of your roof, you will want to choose a screen or a mesh gutter guard that won’t be visible. 

However, even some of these gutter guards will have clips or a side piece that is something you can see from the ground. Ensure that you choose colors that will match the styling of your home. This will allow your home to be visibly aesthetic without any plastic or metal sticking out and being seen from the ground.

Installation

There are two types of installation when it comes to gutter guards. Gutter guards can be installed professionally or by DIY. Some gutter guards are easier to install than others. The foam and brush gutter guards can typically be done on your own. Mesh and screen gutter guards need professional installation. 

Remember that you will have to pay a bit to have this handled for you when paying for installation. Incorporate this into your total budget for the home gutter installation project.

Best Overall

  • Full installation of patented 3-piece LeafFilter system
  • Stainless steel 275-micron micromesh screen
  • Lifetime transferable warranty
  • Free estimate with in-person inspection

our rating9.7

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, you now have a better understanding of the different types of gutter guards on the market. If you are getting a quote on gutter guards, make sure you fully understand the type that you are getting. Sometimes a quote for a gutter guard will seem relatively low, and then when you find out that it is a foam or brush gutter guard, you will see why the pricing is so low. Take your time to consider the benefits of all the different types of gutter guards on the market. Once you get the one that works for your needs, you should not have to purchase more gutter guards for many years.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is The Best Type of Gutter Guard? 

The best type of gutter guard is typically the mesh or micro-mesh. These gutter guards do the best job of blocking the debris, and they make it much easier to maintain the overall condition of the gutters. In addition, the mesh or micro-mesh gutter guards allow for the best water flow away from the home’s foundation. 

Can I Install My Own Gutter Guard? 

Gutter guards can be installed professionally or on your own. It is important to remember that certain types of gutter guards are easier to install than others. Many gutter guard installation companies will offer a warranty if you let them install the gutters independently. 

What Are The Disadvantages of Gutter Guards? 

Most gutter guards have very few disadvantages; however, it is essential to use the right type of gutter guard. Gutter guards such as foram or brush gutter guards need to be cleaned quite often. Mesh or micro-mesh gutter guards have very few disadvantages except for the higher initial cost.

Do Gutter Guards Work In Heavy Rain? 

Most gutter guards will work in heavy rain; however, it is important to choose the proper type of gutter guard. Some of the reverse curve or surface tension gutter guards don’t do all that well in heavy rainstorms. Micro mesh gutter guards don’t have any issues with allowing water to flow through quickly when heavy rain starts, 

Are Gutter Guards Worth It? 

Gutter guards are worth the price you pay because of the time and energy they will save you. Not having to clean out your gutters constantly and knowing that water is flowing away from the home properly and without issue will give homeowners peace of mind. If you are currently paying for gutter cleaning, the gutter guards will quickly pay for themselves. In addition, having gutter guards on the home can increase the resale value. 

How we Ranked, Reviewed, and Tested the Best Gutter Guards

Here, we’ve broken down our rating methodology for gutter guards. You should know that we’ve taken the utmost care to provide the most up-to-date information and to ensure that you make the best choice for your budgetary and home maintenance needs.

Why Trust House Method? Our Gutter Ranking Methodology

At House Method, transparency and trust are our most important values for the reader. We’ve done the homework for you and have researched over 50 gutter guards so you can have the information you need to make the best choice for your home. That’s why we took the time to create an objective rating system and score each gutter guard and gutter guard provider company according to our gutter ranking methodology.

We also dug into the details of each gutter guard to ensure that you could make the best decisions for your home and keep your gutters debris-free for years to come.

To make the most of our research, we developed a formula to objectively determine the best gutter guards based on the following criteria:

  • Material: Material durability was the single most important factor that went into our rating methodology for gutter guards. Whether they were stainless steel micro-mesh or plastic screening, we gave an in-depth rating for this criteria.
  • Debris Resistance: Our testing served as the primary evaluator for this factor. We curated a rating based on customer testimonials and our own in-house testing here.
  • Ease of Installation: Most of the gutter guard options listed have some DIY component involved. For this reason, guards that required the fewest specialty tools got the highest rating here.
  • Cost: How reasonable are prices in comparison to the industry average? We compared the costs of each company to competitors.
  • Warranty terms: We looked into the warranty of lifetime warranty terms if it is offered by the provider.
  • Trust: What do customers rate the company? We looked into what customers are saying about their experience with the company.
  • Buying process: if the gutter guard is a DIY installation, how easy is the buying process? We looked for shipping costs and shipping time, as well as where the product can be bought from.

More Gutter Resources

Gutters

Best Gutter Guards for Keeping Pests Out

Create gutter protection from pests by limiting access to your gutters and roof with gutter guards. Gutter guards are a valuable addition to your pest prevention plan for protecting against rodents, pests, and much more. Read more about the best gutter guards for keeping pests out in this article.

Gutters

Do Gutter Guards Make Fall Gutter Cleaning Easier?

Nobody likes cleaning gutters. It’s messy, time-consuming, and, often, icky. This may leave you wondering if installing gutter guards will help you avoid the hassle of cleaning your gutters each fall. Read our article to learn if gutter guards make fall gutter cleaning more manageable.

Gutters

Can Rodents Get Past Your Gutter Guards?

Gutter guards protect your gutters by working like a colander or strainer and limiting access to your gutter and roof. As a result, they help prevent leaves and debris from piling up in your gutters. Gutter guards can also be a valuable addition to your pest control prevention plan, especially when it comes to rodents.

Gutters

Menards Gutter Guards Review (2022)

Do the gutters on your roof constantly get clogged? Click here to learn about the best gutter guards available at Menards in 2022.

Gutters

The Best Gutter Cleaning Services (2022)

Unearth the best gutter cleaning services in the United States as well as important considerations and the benefits of clean, debris-free gutters.

Gutters

How to Fix Sagging Gutters: Step-by-Step Guide

Sagging gutters can cause issues in maintaining your home properly. Our guide offers the best solutions for fixing sagging gutters.

Gutters

Guide To Hanging Christmas Lights on Gutters

Christmas lights add life to any home, especially when it’s dark outside. Our guide to hanging Christmas lights on gutters gives you a step-by-step look at everything you need to do to hang Christmas lights on gutters safely and efficiently.

Gutters

Do Gutter Guards Work? The Truth About Gutter Guards

Find out the truth about gutter guards and if they can benefit your home maintenance and improve your water flow.

Gutters

Can You Paint Gutters?

Have your gutters seen better days? Rather than replacing them, consider painting your gutters to give your property a refresh.